Above: Gottheimer speaks on the House floor today.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, September 29, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives debated H.R.4089, the Darren Drake Act, bipartisan legislation led by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) to stop ISIS-inspired and lone-wolf terrorists from using trucks and other vehicles as weapons. The legislation is named in memory of New Milford resident Darren Drake, a victim of the October 2017 New York City West Side Highway terrorist truck attack. The bipartisan bill’s lead Republican cosponsor is Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).
To help prevent terrorist truck attacks, the Darren Drake Act will require the Department of Homeland Security to develop and disseminate best practices for vehicle rental companies and dealers to report suspicious behavior to law enforcement, helping them stop potential threats in their paths. These best practices will be developed and updated in consultation with federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as industry stakeholders.
The bill will also require the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress regarding the implementation of these best practices and other ways they are working to help improve coordination between the Department and rental vehicle providers.
Gottheimer spoke on the House floor today as the bipartisan bill was debated, saying:
Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4089, the Darren Drake Act — bipartisan legislation I introduced in the Committee on Homeland Security, with my Republican colleague and Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, to help prevent terrorist vehicle attacks and to protect Americans nationwide.
This legislation is named in memory of a constituent from my District — Darren Drake of New Milford, New Jersey — who was one those tragically killed in the terrorist attack in lower Manhattan on October 31st, 2017, when an ISIS-inspired terrorist drove a rented pick-up truck into cyclists and runners for a mile alongside the West Side Highway, killing eight.
This bill takes critical steps to stop these weapons of terror and help prevent terrorist truck attacks by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to develop and disseminate best practices for vehicle rental companies and dealers to report suspicious behavior to law enforcement. These best practices will be developed and updated in consultation with state and local law enforcement, as well as industry experts.
This crucial legislation will provide rental companies and car dealers with the vital information they need to flag and stop potential terrorist threats in their tracks. We can take no chances when it comes to terrorism, which is why this bill will help ensure all rental companies report suspicious behavior at every point of sale. No excuses. We cannot afford any excuses when it comes to a question of life or death.
The bill will also require the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to Congress regarding the implementation of these best practices and other ways they are helping improve coordination between the Department and rental vehicle providers.
This commonsense, bipartisan bill is aimed at stopping ISIS-inspired, lone-wolf, and domestic terrorists from easily acquiring trucks and other vehicles to wreak havoc and cause mass destruction and death. It is an important addition to our arsenal as we work to eradicate threats of terror across our nation.
I want to thank Darren’s parents, Jimmy and Barbara Drake, who have become dear friends, for working with me on this effort. I thank them for their leadership. and we will continue working to ensure this measure becomes law — in Darren’s memory and honor — to help prevent future attacks and save lives. It is the least we can do.
Madam Speaker, I strongly urge all my colleagues to support this commonsense bipartisan legislation, to help our great nation fully combat terror wherever it rears its ugly head.
Thank you, and I yield back.
Watch Gottheimer’s remarks on the House floor here.